Rice Snowing

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About This Artwork

The video installation shown in a room of an old house in Tokamachi encompassed issues common to the entire region. The image of a woman weaving, projected on a low table in an old Japanese-style room, was gradually covered by white snow. Looking closely, one realized that the snow was actually white rice. When the snow covered the whole screen, two hands appeared to wipe away the snow. On other tables, scenes of the town today or of a forest appeared and then disappeared. The same snow that makes life hard during winter at the same time gives rise to its harvests of excellent rice and aspects of the region's unique culture, including, for example, the custom of stretching cloth over the snow to bleach it. Visitors quietly, intently watched the scenes being projected on the tables as the rice-snow accumulated and then disappeared, revealing some scenes that have changed, some that will never change. The Chinese artist was determined to use rice as a motif, not merely because rice is a regional speciality but also to make his work a warning from Asia against globalization, which, depending on the balance of power, might alter the dietary habits in which our cultures are rooted.



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